Sen. Elizabeth Warren will hold an event on Capitol Hill today to rally against Walmart and the company’s low wages and “terrible employment practices,” reported Mother Jones.
Alongside Warren will be Rep. George Miller (D-CA), OUR Walmart members, and representatives from labor groups. They will also discuss legislation that will benefit Walmart workers. The group plans to push for increased wages to $10.10 per hour, stable schedule hours for part-time workers, and protect workers from Walmart’s retaliation tactics.
The majority of Walmart’s 1.3 million workers make less than $25,000 a year, 600,000 workers are part-time, and many employees rely on public food and health assistance. According to Mother Jones, the company asserts that the average full-time pay is $12.83 per hour, while pro-labor group OUR Walmart estimated much lower wages, about $9 per hour.
Recently, the company decided to cut the health benefits of 30,000 part-time employees while increasing the premiums of employees whose benefits didn’t get cut. The bi-weekly premiums for Walmart’s “lowest cost” workers increased from $3.50 to $21.90.
Walmart’s pay is so low that one supercenter costs taxpayers about $1 million a year of public assistance programs that its employees rely upon. All of the Walmart branches combined costs taxpayers an estimated $6.8 billion in public assistance each year. In recent years, whenever employees have spoken out against Walmart’s pay and practices, the company has retaliated in various ways.
Early this year, the National Labor Relations Board found that Walmart had committed labor violations when the company implemented retaliatory measures against employees related to the Black Friday protests of 2012. One hundred and seventeen workers were threatened with disciplinary action or termination if they protested. The Warren-led rally seeks to increase protections for Walmart workers.
Since 2012, OUR Walmart protests have gotten bigger, starting with protests at 1000 stores. Last year, workers protested at 1200 stores, and OUR Walmart seeks to protest at 1,600 in the coming weeks.